Monthly Archive for June, 2008

Economy’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans

The Economic Slowdown’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans
Jeffrey Love and Gerard Rainville
Research Report from the AARP

AARP commissioned a nationwide survey to determine how people age 45 and older are responding to the current economic slowdown. The survey asked respondents for their assessments of the economy’s condition, whether they have taken actions in response to the changing economy, and if they felt enough was being done to address economic problems. This executive summary of the study reveals that a majority of those 45 or older believe the economy is in bad shape and that many have adapted their behaviors in response to the floundering economy.

Survey findings include:

* Eighty-one percent say the economy is in fairly bad or very bad condition. A similar percentage (75%) feel the economy is getting worse.
* Over one-fourth of respondents said they are having trouble paying their mortgage or rent and one-third have stopped putting money into their retirement accounts. More than one-fourth (27%) of all workers 45+ have postponed plans to retire.
* As the economy slows and prices rise, most middle-aged and older respondents report that they are having difficulty paying for food, gas, utilities, and medicine, and are responding to the situation by cutting luxuries and postponing major purchases and travel.
* Respondents age 65 and over were less likely than those ages 45-64 to report having taken steps to cope with a slowing economy or increasing prices as a result of the recent economic slowdown. This does not indicate that the older population is better off financially. Rather, the data suggest that the 65 and over group had, even prior to the economic downturn, been forced to adjust their spending habits because of their work status, fixed income, and rising costs.


Marriage and Divorce Since WWII

Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households
Jeremy Greenwood and Nezih Guner
Penn State Population Studies Center Working Paper
Since World War II there has been: (i) a rise in the fraction of time that married households allocate to market work, (ii) an increase in the rate of divorce, and (iii) a decline in the rate of marriage. It is argued here that labor-saving technological progress in the household sector can explain these facts. This makes it more feasible for singles to maintain their own home, and for married women to work. To address this question, a search model of marriage and divorce, which incorporates household production, is developed. An extension looks back at the prewar era.

Family Economic Security Profiles

From the National Center for Children in Poverty

NCCP’s Family Economic Security Profiles provide state-specific data on low-income children and families and highlight state policy choices to promote work attachment and advancement, income adequacy, and asset development.

Download all 50 states, or individual states (PDFs).

Parent Awareness of Youth Use of Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Marijuana

Parent Awareness of Youth Use of Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Marijuana
Source: The NSDUH Report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, April 24, 2008
– Youth substance use in the past year was generally higher within one-parent households than within two-parent households for both mother-child and father-child pairs and was generally highest among youth in father-child pairs within one-parent households.
– Parent awareness of youth use of cigarettes and alcohol in the past year increased with the youth’s increasing age among both mother-child and father-child pairs.
– Rates of parent awareness of youth substance use in the past year were generally higher among mothers in mother-child pairs than among fathers in father-child pairs and were generally highest among mothers in mother-child pairs within one-parent households.
Full text (HTML)

New Discussion Papers from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Gender Differences and the Timing of First Marriages
Javier Díaz-Giménez, Eugenio P. Giolito
Abstract; PDF

The Role of Religion in Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States: A Review of the Recent Literature
Evelyn L. Lehrer
Abstract; PDF

Crime and Partnerships
Michael Svarer
Abstract; PDF

The Re-Building Effect of Hurricanes: Evidence from Employment in the US Construction Industry
Eric Strobl, Frank Walsh
Abstract; PDF

Education, Information, and Improved Health: Evidence from Breast Cancer Screening
Keith Chen, Fabian Lange
Abstract; PDF

Formality, Informality, and Social Welfare
John Bennett
Abstract; PDF

Ancestry versus Ethnicity: The Complexity and Selectivity of Mexican Identification in the United States
Brian Duncan, Stephen Trejo
Abstract; PDF

On Gender Gaps and Self-fulfilling Expectations: Theory, Policies and Some Empirical Evidence
Sara de la Rica, Juan José Dolado, Cecilia García-Peñalosa
Abstract; PDF

Social Interactions and the Salience of Social Identity
Kendra N. McLeish, Robert J. Oxoby
Abstract; PDF

Food Stamps Buy Less

Food Stamps Buy Less, and Families Are Hit Hard
The prices of staples have risen sharply, but an increase in food stamp allocations will not take effect until October.
Source: New York Times, June 22, 2008

American Eating and Drinking Patterns

American eating and drinking patterns
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
Contact: Karen Hamrick

On an average day in 2006, Americans age 15 and older spent 67 minutes eating and drinking as a “primary”, or main, activity, and 16 minutes eating and 42 minutes drinking (except plain water) as a secondary activity—that is, eating while engaged in another activity considered primary by the individual. Eight percent of the population spent 4.5 hours or more a day on eating/drinking as either a primary or secondary activity. About 9 percent of Americans’ secondary eating and drinking occurred while driving a vehicle, walking, or biking. Secondary eating or drinking was most frequently accompanied by socializing, relaxing, and leisure, which includes watching television.

The World Bank’s Africa Region HIV-AIDS Action Agenda

Our Commitment: The World Bank’s Africa Region HIV/AIDS Agenda for Action 2007-2011

“Our Commitment: World Bank’s Africa Region HIV/AIDS Agenda for Action 2007-2011″, is the result of extensive consultation with over 30 African partner countries and institutions, as well as donors, UN agencies, non-governmental organizationsand others seeking to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. It builds on what has been learned in the emergency response to HIV/AIDS and reaffirms the World Bank’s commitment to combatting HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The Agenda for Action will contribute substantially to the long-term, sustainable response required to overcome this enormous development challenge facing sub-Saharan Africa.”


Costs of Child Poverty

State-by-State Costs of Child Poverty in the U.S.
Kelvin Pollard
Source: Population Reference Bureau

(May 2008) Research has shown that growing up in poverty leads to negative health, social, and economic consequences for children that often continue in adulthood. Compared with other children, children living below the poverty line are less healthy, have lower educational achievement, and are more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system. As adults, they are less likely to attend college or hold a steady job.

In 2006, an estimated 13.3 million U.S. children were living in poverty, and at risk for such lifelong problems. But the individual hardships brought by poverty also exact a staggering financial toll on broader society. One recent estimate has suggested that growing up in poverty costs the United States $500 billion annually in lost potential earnings, involvement with the criminal justice system, and the costs associated with poor health outcomes.1

Taking its cue from that cost estimate, as well as campaigns in some states designed to reduce poverty, the KIDS COUNT project in Washington state (affiliated with the University of Washington’s Human Services Poverty Center) has produced state-level estimates of the costs of child poverty. By taking the national estimate of child poverty costs and applying it to the estimated the number of poor children in each state in the 2006 American Community Survey, the study estimates the amount that each state would save annually if child poverty were eliminated.

In 14 states, child poverty yielded an annual cost of more than $10 billion, according to the fact sheet issued by Washington KIDS COUNT. Not surprisingly, the most populous states tended to have the highest annual costs (see map)—mainly because they tend to have the largest numbers of children in poverty. California, with an estimated 1.7 million poor children in 2006, had the highest cost of $63.9 billion, followed by Texas at $57.5 billion and New York at $33.4 billion. Even in the smallest state, Wyoming, growing up poor yields an annual cost of about $500 million.

Sexual & Reproductive Health in the Middle East & North Africa

Sexual & Reproductive Health in the Middle East and North Africa: A Guide for Reporters
Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi and Lori Ashford
Source: Population Reference Bureau
(May 2008) Sexual and reproductive health is a broad concept encompassing health and well-being in matters related to sexual relations, pregnancies, and births. It deals with the most intimate and private aspects of people’s lives, which can be difficult to write about or discuss publicly, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Published by the Population Reference Bureau, Sexual & Reproductive Health in the Middle East and North Africa: A Guide for Reporters aims to bring together the latest available data on sexual and reproductive health for countries in the MENA region. It was written for journalists, to help them educate the public and make the case for policymakers that poor sexual and reproductive health contributes to social inequalities and hinders social and economic development.
“This is the first time that material on sexual and reproductive health has been put together in one, easy-to-read resource for the Middle East and North Africa,” noted Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi, a co-author of the guide. “We hope that reporters, educators, and others will refer to it in their work and use it to expand the dialogue on these extremely important development topics.”
Cultural sensitivities and taboos surrounding sexuality are particularly pronounced in the MENA region, and make the role of the media vital in providing objective information about sexual and reproductive health matters. The media has the power to break the culture of silence that surrounds sexual and reproductive health, a silence that all too often prevents people from seeking information and care and prevents governments from putting the issues on their development agendas. Journalists can report responsibly and objectively on these issues to break taboos, educate the public, and bring the issues to policymakers’ attention.
The guide covers these topics: marriage, childbearing, family planning, maternal health, abortion, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, adolescents and young adults, female genital cutting, and cervical cancer. There is also a chapter on health and development goals, as well as three appendices on population and reproductive health indicators by country, a glossary, and sources of information.
This guide was funded by the Ford Foundation office in Cairo.